June is Pride Month in the US and in honor of that here is a list of books featuring gay characters and themes. As with other book lists I wanted the themes/morals of the stories to be secondary to the characters. After all if books have well developed gay characters then they'll naturally raise awareness about gay people and the issues they face. Some of the books listed with have a primary focus of gay characters and issues while other's will be stories that happen to have gay characters. Also a lot of the gay rights movement and Pride focus on white men to the extent of silencing or ignoring women, people of color, and other people on the LGBTQ spectrum. The counter this I tried to find several books that focused on or included characters that were POC and LGBTQ.
Book's I have read are marked with an *.
* And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (The charming story of Roy and Silo, two boy penguins who fall in love and are given an egg to foster by their zoo keeper.)
Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman (A Pre-K boardbook about a young toddler playing and daddy and papa and the activities they get up to. The writing is in short rhymes. It also has a companion Mommy, Mama, and Me.)
King & King written and illustrated by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland. (This is a story of a prince who is supposed to find a princess to marry, but falls in love with a prince instead. This book has been translated into several languages and has a sequel King & King & Family.)
The White Swan Express by Jean Davies Okimoto and Elaine M. Aoki. (This is the story of four Chinese baby girls and the people who adopt them. One family is a lesbian couple, and another person is a single mom. )
1st - 2nd Grade
Anna Day and the O-ring written and illustrated by Elaine Wickens and Alyson Wonderland. (Evan, his two mom's, and their dog Anna Day are getting ready for Evan's birthday party when the O-ring for the tent goes missing.)
Mom and Mum Are Getting Married! by Ken Setterington. (Rosie's mom's are getting married and she wants to be the flower girl and take care of the wedding rings. But are Rosie and her brother Jack mature enough?)
One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads by Johnny Valentine. (A Dr. Seuss like rhyming book about a brown boy, Lou, answering his friend's questions about Lou's two blue dads.)
3rd - 5th Grade
* The Skull of Truth by Bruce Coville. (Charlie, a chronic lier, finds a skull (that used to belong to Shakespeare!) that makes everyone around it tell the truth. A sub-plot of the book has to do with the revelation that Charlie's favorite uncle is gay)
* Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. (Jamie, one of the main characters of the series, is gay. Several secondary characters are as well. The main focus of the story is on magic and family, though additional content on Rees Brennan's web-page shows more from Jamie's, or the secondary characters, perspectives.) Reviewed by me.
The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson. (Bi-racial Staggerlee has felt even more confused and different ever since she kissed her best friend Hazel. Luckily she has a kindred spirit in her cousin Trout.)
The Pride Pack by R.J. Hamilton. (A mystery series about gay teens and adults. The first two books in the series are Who Framed Lorenzo Garcia? and The Case of the Missing Mother.)
* Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez. (The story of Kyle, Jason, and Nelson, three gay teens growing up and falling in love in a conservative town. There are two sequels Rainbow High and Rainbow Road. All of the books have some sexual content. Not the best written series ever but it really focuses on gay characters and themes and the later books have other LGBTQ characters.)